Hepatitis A Cases Linked to Strawberry Smoothies Rises to 51

Hepatitis A Cases Linked to Strawberry Smoothies Rises to 51
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Last week, it was reported that there were 28 confirmed cases of Hepatitis A linked to smoothies from a Virginia branch of the chain Tropical Smoothie cafe. The Hepatitis A has been linked to the frozen strawberries that the chain used in their smoothies. [1]

The contaminated berries were sourced from Egypt and pulled from the 500 smoothie franchises as soon as it was suspected that they could be the root of the problem. Although this was done at the beginning of August, it can take up to 50 days from contamination to the person showing symptoms.

Over half of those with Hepatitis A have been hospitalized for their symptoms.

The outbreak has spread to 5 states, though 44 of those stricken with the disease are from Virginia. There are 4 people with Hepatitis A linked to the restaurant in Maryland and one person each in North Carolina, Oregon, and Wisconsin.

A CDC spokeswoman stated:

“While Tropical Smoothie Café has removed the frozen strawberries from their restaurants and switched to another supplier, we may still see more illnesses due to the long incubation period for Hepatitis A before people start experiencing symptoms. At this time, we do not have information to suggest that there is an ongoing risk of Hepatitis A virus infection at Tropical Smoothie Cafés.”

Virginia is now drawing criticism for taking too long to let the public know about the potential link to the Egyptian strawberries. Some are saying that waiting 14 days to make the announcement and pull the berries has caused even more people to fall victim. The cafe, however, says that they were waiting to gather as much information as possible before coming forward.

The Health Department is continuing to advise everyone who has eaten a smoothie containing strawberries from the Tropical Smoothie Cafe to continue to ensure that they have not developed symptoms.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A include:

  • Jaundice
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine and light-colored stools

The disease can also spread from person to person. Therefore, it is incredibly important that if you suspect that you or a family member is infected, you seek medical attention as quickly as possible.

The Virginia Department of Health advises anyone with symptoms to stay home from work or school. This is especially important if you happen to work in food services.

Additional Sources:

[1] NBC News

Featured image source: Business Insider